What I wasn't prepared for was E initiating the process of putting herself to sleep at sixteen months. One day she didn't want to be nursed to sleep for her nap. She wanted to be in bed, by herself. She did cry, but for the first time ever it was in a relaxing, getting settled sort of way rather than the full out war I had been used to, and in a few short minutes she was sound asleep. She didn't successfully get herself to sleep every day, especially if we had friends over or she felt she was missing something fun downstairs, and I always picked her up if the whimpering escalated to crying or screaming. Some days she still wanted me to help her out and I gladly rocked her to sleep, but after a few weeks of gradual toddler-led transition somehow my daughter decided she just didn't need me for nap and bedtimes anymore.
Now she loves going to bed and she decides when it's time to go upstairs to sleep. Today I actually took her outside to splash in some water to distract her from her desire to nap mid-morning. When she's ready, she'll grab my hand and guide me upstairs, lay still while I put on her diaper, and snuggle with her teddy bear as she lays her head on the pillow. Just this week she's started waving goodbye to me as I leave the room, almost as if to say, "get out of here already!" *tear* How did she grow up so fast?!
So now we have the benefit of a two minute nap time/bedtime routine. It almost seems too easy. Almost. And then we're away from home for the day and I remember why I liked the previous routine, aside from the obvious snuggles. No longer will she nurse to sleep and then stay asleep anywhere, anytime. She now has trouble getting to sleep anywhere other than her own (okay, my own) bed, except for the occasional snooze in the car seat. On Mother's Day when she was at Grandma's all day, she went the entire day with no nap whatsoever. It's been a bit of an adjustment making sure we're always home for nap time. Well, except for this week when we didn't leave the house at all for the purpose of potty training.
Fortunately, E's still super cuddly and makes sure to get all her snuggles in during the day. She gives amazing arms-squeezed-around-the-neck hugs that could melt even the iciest of hearts. I guess I'll have to forgive her for growing way too fast.
|Puddles of cuteness|